The Global Perspective of John Henrik Clarke

The Global Perspective of John Henrik Clarke


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



The African World Community Was His Love



Books by John Henrik Clarke

Christopher Columbus and the Afrikan Holocaust: Slavery and the Rise of European Capitalism (2002) / My Life In Search of Africa (1999)

The Middle Passage: White Ships Black Cargo (1995) / Africans at the Crossroads: African World Revolution (1992)

Marcus Garvey and the Vision of Africa (1974)  / Malcolm X: The Man and His Times (1991) /  Black American Short Stories (1966; 1993)

William Styron’s Nat Turner: Ten Black Writers Respond (1968) / Harlem U.S.A.: A City within a City (1993)

Introduction to African Civilizations (2001)  / World’s Great Men of Color (1996)

*   *   *   *   *

The Global Perspective of John Henrik Clarke

By Obadele Williams

Intellectually and academically he can be firmly placed beside Edward Wilmot Blyden, Alexander Crummell, Henry McNeal Turner, Martin R. Delany, Paul Cuffee, J.E. Casely-Hayford, George Padmore, W.E.B. Du Bois and Aime Cesaire because of his unswerving love for African people worldwide throughout his lifetime.

As a student of political affairs he keenly kept abreast of freedom struggles in Africa, the Caribbean, South America, the Pacific, the U.S. and wherever Africans were engaged in the struggle against imperialism, colonialism, and genocide. His years in Harlem brought him into contact with future participants and leaders of independent Africa—Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, Agnostino Neto, Edward Mondlane, Amilcar Cabral, Jomo Kenyatta, Tom Mboya, Oginga Odinga, Samori Machel, and others.

He provided vital scholarly critical research on African resource development as well as advice on how to negotiate with former colonial adversaries. He often warned that power people never train powerless people to take their power away from them. He often said, “Your enemy will never be your friend.” From his wealth of knowledge on European wars against Africans he would advise leaders to steer clear of alliances with enemies. He knew that once an enemy or conqueror always an enemy. John Henrik Clarke realized based on study and activism that the function of knowledge was to be used as a tool to liberate a people. Dr. Clarke’s writings or magnus opus as a scholar, journalist, and activist motivated Africans worldwide to rediscover their cultural heritage. The African World community was his classroom where he would not waste a single moment teaching about Africa—his favorite pastime. It was during the early 20s that John Clarke began actively to study and write about the continent. He would go on to publish his first short stories in the Urban Leagues’ Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life. Stories concentrating on the social and political issues affecting his people of the time appeared such as, “Santa Claus Is A White Man,” Leader of a Mob,” “Prelude to an Education,” “The Other Side” and “The Boy Who Painted Christ Black.”

The fire that his new knowledge of Africa ignited in him caused him to find his way into journalism. He often told the story of John G. Jackson’s advice to stop writing all those poems and short stories and start writing historical essays. Jackson’s advice to Clarke caused him to use the pen as a weapon in the battle to reclaim Africa’s place in world history.

It was during these years (1933 – 1940) that he would help raise funds for Ethiopia’s battle against Benito Mussolini during the Italian-Ethiopian War. During this time he began to publish his other creative writings in the Crisis, and Harlem Quarterly. They would be stories titled, “Under the Bridge,” “The Betrayal,” “Man Of God,” and “Revolt of the Angels.” John Henrik Clarke was among a generation of fiction writers, such as Rudolph Fisher, Chester Himes, Langston Hughes, John Oliver Killens, Zora Neale Hurston who sought to capture the cultural memory of their people through the literary genre by valuing the beauty in their own stories.

After receiving advice from John G. Jackson to write about Africa’s history, he learned to write in a way that would make his chosen topic of Africa accessible, exciting, and attractive to a wide readership of lay and scholarly people. Clarke would begin writing and working for the newspaper Freedom, published by the Council on African Affairs under the guidance of Alphaeus Hounton, Paul Robeson, and John Oliver Killens. While still researching and spending whatever time he had at the 135th Street Library in Harlem, he would also become an editor and founding member of Harlem Quarterly Magazine.

As the 1950s approached and progressed, many African Americans searched for a way for Africa to become their new home. Always a student/activist of Pan-African Affairs Clarke became a staff lecturer in African Studies and African American Studies at the New School for Social Research. In 1956 Clarke would invite his mentor Professor William Leo Hansberry to present a series of lectures on African Culture and Civilization.

With the McCarthy era in full swing, Clarke traveled to Ghana in order to feel the warmth of his homeland. Almost immediately he began to send challenges with writ of pen toward European myths about Africa. He began to coordinate and write a series titled, “The Lives Of Great African Chiefs,” for the Ghanaian Evening News and serialized in the Pittsburgh Courier (1957-58) in the United States. It was these inspiring, pioneering stories that gave historical validation to Africa’s ability to govern and lead itself. He realized that African children, educators, and leaders needed to know about their own indigenous heroes and leaders that Europe strategically sought to wipe from African memory.

John Henrik Clarke would also utilize the latest newly emerging scientific documentation regarding Africa. In 1959, he would let the African World know of the discovery of Zinjanthropus Boisie in Kenya by L.S.B. Leakey of 1.5 million years old. This finding would confirm, at that time, that Africa was the home of early humankind. Along with military warfare in struggles for liberation, John Clarke came to understand that documentation, both scientific and cultural, must go hand in hand. Another strategy in his quest for an African based education was to critically examine the emerging new writers of independent Africa. His book reviews are numerous.  

One of his greatest gifts has been helping to give back to Africa its history, thereby challenging the assumptions of racists worldwide that Africa’s people were somehow removed from, as he often said, the respectful commentary of history. Upon returning to the U.S., he began to write for Freedomways Magazine, eventually working his way up to become Associate Editor. In 1961, anticipating the rising consciousness of U.S. Blacks he published in Freedomways, “The New Afro-American Nationalism.” He would state that this is not a new phenomenon but was a continuation of the African Freedom struggle worldwide. While there he would coordinate and seek publication of Richard B. Moore’s classic article, “Africa Conscious Harlem.” He foresaw the “Black Is Beautiful” phase of the Black Freedom Struggle.


*   *   *   *   *

John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History

Africalogical Quest for Decolonization and Sovereignty

By Ahati N. N. Toure

Under Clarke s formulation liberation was defined not simply as freedom from European domination, but fundamentally as the restoration of Afrikan sovereignty. He explored history’s utility in moving an oppressed and subordinated people from a position of subjugation on multiple levels to full status as a self-sustaining, self-defining, self-directed, free, and independent people on a global stage. Further, the study examines the influence of indigenous Afrikan intellectualism in the United States in Afrikan cultural and intellectual history. Although a leader among European academy-trained Afrikan intellectuals who join the European academy largely beginning in the 1970s, Clarke s education and training were the product of a movement for the indigenization of Afrikan academic intellectualism in Harlem of the 1930s that can be traced back to the early nineteenth century. It is the first extensive critical examination of Clarke as an exemplar of indigenous intellectualism in Afrikan culture in the United States

*   *   *   *   *

A Critical Biography


Julius E. Thompson and James L. Conyers, Jr. Pan-African Nationalism in the Americas


 The Life And Times Of John Henrik Clarke / John Henrik Clarke—A Great and Mighty Walk 


YouTube Lectures

Dr. John Henrik Clarke—Christopher Columbus 1 of 7 

/ John Henrik Clarke talks about Farrakhan


Dr. John Henrik Clarke on organized religion vs spirituality / Part 2 /

Part 3

/ Part 4


*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 – Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 – Don’t Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 – Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 – Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King

#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

*   *   *   *   *


The Price of Civilization

Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity

By Jeffrey D. Sachs

The Price of Civilization is a book that is essential reading for every American. In a forceful, impassioned, and personal voice, he offers not only a searing and incisive diagnosis of our country’s economic ills but also an urgent call for Americans to restore the virtues of fairness, honesty, and foresight as the foundations of national prosperity. Sachs finds that both political parties—and many leading economists—have missed the big picture, offering shortsighted solutions such as stimulus spending or tax cuts to address complex economic problems that require deeper solutions. Sachs argues that we have profoundly underestimated globalization’s long-term effects on our country, which create deep and largely unmet challenges with regard to jobs, incomes, poverty, and the environment. America’s single biggest economic failure, Sachs argues, is its inability to come to grips with the new global economic realities. Sachs describes a political system that has lost its ethical moorings, in which ever-rising campaign contributions and lobbying outlays overpower the voice of the citizenry. . . . Sachs offers a plan to turn the crisis around. He argues persuasively that the problem is not America’s abiding values, which remain generous and pragmatic, but the ease with which political spin and consumerism run circles around those values. He bids the reader to reclaim the virtues of good citizenship and mindfulness toward the economy and one another.

*   *   *   *   *


Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. “Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”—Lisa Adkins, University of London

*   *   *   *   *

The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

*   *   *   *   *

Ancient African Nations

*   *   *   *   *

If you like this page consider making a donation

online through PayPal

*   *   *   *   *

Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


*   *   *   *   *

The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

*   *   *   *   *

The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

*   *   *   *   *


*   *   *   *   *






posted 27 April 2007




   Home  Wilson Jeremiah Moses   Transitional Writings on Africa    Black Arts and Black Power Figures   Washerwomen Table   Black Arts and Black Power Figures  

Related files: Portrait of a Liberation Scholar  The Global Perspective of John Henrik Clarke   The Life And Times of John Henrik Clarke (Review)  PanAfrican Nationalism in the Americas        

Post Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.